28/02/2011 Bidvest Group CEO Brian Joffe presenting their interim Results at Sandton JHB. (307) Photo: Leon Nicholas

Johannesburg - South Africa's Bidvest Group said on Thursday it will close its offer for a stake in drugmaker Adcock Ingram early next month, in what could be an attempt to speed up a takeover battle that has been waylaid by delays.

Bidvest, a conglomerate that spans shipping to auto sales, is attempting to thwart a takeover of Adcock by Chilean firm CFR Pharmaceuticals.

CFR has bid 12.8 billion rand ($1.2 billion) in cash and shares for Adcock, an offer that shareholders were initially due to vote on last year, but which has since been delayed twice and is now expected in mid-February.

“Adcock has been subjected to a protracted period of continuous delays throughout which time the attention of the Adcock board and management has been diverted from optimising the operational performance,” Bidvest said in a statement.

“This has been exacerbated by the protracted process relating to the offer by CFR Pharmaceuticals.”

Bidvest said its cash offer for 34.5 percent of Adcock will close at 17:00 SA time on February 4. - Reuters